Weekly Viking Roundup

The line backers…

Last week, we took a look at the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive tackle depth chart. If you happened to miss the article, you can find it on my Facebook page through the web address that’s listed below.

Jordan COLUMN BOXLast week, we took a look at the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive tackle depth chart. If you happened to miss the article, you can find it on my Facebook page through the web address that’s listed below.

The Minnesota Vikings’ linebacker depth chart is stronger than it has been in recent decades. The Vikings have had some very good LBs in the past, from Jack Del Rio and Ed McDaniel in the 1990s to E.J. Henderson in the 2000s. However, when it’s all said and done, this group may be the best to ever don the purple and gold.

Starters: Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Chad Greenway

Anthony Barr was selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft. Most Vikings fans, myself included, were surprised at the selection. Luckily for us, Barr has turned out to be a fantastic selection under the tutelage of Mike Zimmer. After the 2015 season, Barr made the Pro Bowl, which will likely be the first of many. Pro Football Focus gave Barr a player grade of 93.4 as well, which was good for second best of any LB in the league.

“He has the potential to be the best linebacker to ever play the game, in my eyes,” Adrian Peterson about Anthony Barr on NFL Network.

Eric Kendricks is from the same college as Barr (UCLA) and was a second round draft pick in 2015. Even though he is on the smaller side for a LB, Kendricks makes up for it with his instincts and technique. Despite only starting 11 games in his debut season, Kendricks led the Vikings in tackles and was fifth on the team with four sacks. PFF gave him a player grade of 58.9, good for 56th (out of 97 qualifying LBs). Already an above-average LB who is stout against the run and able to impressively stack and shed blockers, Kendricks will have to improve his coverage before he is considered great.

Chad Greenway is entering the final year of his career after re-signing with the only team he’s ever known this past off-season. Already third on the Vikings’ career tackle list, Greenway (735) only needs three tackles to overtake Chris Doleman for second and 37 to surpass Carl Lee for first.

Backups: Audie Cole, Kentrell Brothers, Emmanuel Lamur

Audie Cole has been with the Vikings since 2012, and just signed a one-year contract to remain in Minnesota. Cole was only on the field for 38 defensive snaps last year, and there is only $40,000 in guaranteed money on his contract, so it’s entirely possible he is replaced by a younger player with more upside.

Kentrell Brothers was drafted in the fifth round of the most recent draft. Mark Dulgerian of NFL Network had the following to say about him after the draft: “Brothers was a production machine at Missouri thanks to his high football IQ & reactionary quickness. He’s a solid addition to one of the NFL’s best linebacker crews and has exciting long term upside.”

Emmanuel Lamur was a priority signing by Mike Zimmer and the Vikings this past off-season. After spending his last three seasons in Cincinnati, Lamur will likely be the primary backup LB in Minnesota.

On the bubble: Jake Ganus, Edmond Robinson, Brandon Watts

Last season, the Vikings kept 6 linebackers on the opening day roster, and that will probably be the case again this year. Jake Ganus was an undrafted rookie out of Georgia and will likely end up on the practice squad. Edmond Robinson started two games for the Vikings in 2015, but will likely end up as a final cut simply due to the depth at the position. Brandon Watts has managed to stick on the roster for the past two seasons, but will likely end up a casualty of the depth, just like Robinson.

Next week we will be taking a look at the cornerbacks. If you have anything specific you’d like to know about them, or if you have any comments or questions about the defensive ends, reach out to me! E-mail: skoljwright@gmail.com, Facebook: facebook.com/skoljwright, or Twitter: @skoljwright.

Jordan Wright is a sports columnist covering the Minnesota Vikings. His work can be read in papers in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota and on TheVikingAge.com.